Thursday, 23 September 2010

Todmorden Curve takes another big step forward

The Todmorden Curve project, the relaying of 200 hundred metres of track, has taken another big step forward with funding for final assessment stages being agreed by Network Rail.
This is something I have campaigned vigioursly for. It is vital for East Lancashire, even more so if austerity measures have a negative impact on our local economy.
Manchester is a economic major growth area and still growing and we must take advantage of that. The new service is expected to begin now in October 2013.

It will attract inward investment to East Lancashire with the better connectivity and compete against other commuter areas and the property hotspots of south Manchester. East Lancashire is an area of outstanding beauty and opportunity.

Good public transport always makes for greater economic prosperity. It gives people social and economic mobility.
Todmorden West Curve Reinstatement

Connectivity to Manchester identified as a key priority for Pennine Lancashire. Burnley Borough Council has led led the way on behalf of Pennine Lancashire on the proposed reinstatement of the Todmorden West Curve.

This project would produce a journey time to Manchester from Burnley of circa 40 minutes and Accrington of circa 49 minutes. This basically halves the current journey times.

The estimated economic impact of the scheme is an additional £8.4m GVA per annum by 2018.

Current Status (Grip stages 1-4)
• GRIP*2 report completed early 2010
• Network Rail authority to progress next stage (GRIP 3 and 4) work granted August 2010
• Client Remit and Engineering Remit signed off
• GRIP 3 work commenced
— vegetation clearance
— condition survey
— topological survey
• Demand and Revenue Forecasting study commenced August 2010
• Service Evaluation ( imetabling Study) is also currently being undertaken by Northern Rail
Northern Rail have been very proactive in supporting the service. Timetabling enables an hourly service in both directions, now terminating at Blackburn. The service to operate till 10pm.
• GRIP 3 targeted completion - February 2011
• Demand and Revenue Forecast targeted completion February 2011
• Service Evaluation targeted completion - December 2010
• GRIP 4 targeted completion — December 2011 (subject to findings of GRIP 3)
• Targeted project completion - October 2013

Funding for Development Work
• GRIP 3 and 4 costs are now being picked up by Network Rail circa £300k
• Other work funded by Burnley Borough Council, Lancashire CountyCouncil and NWDA

Capital Funding for track laying and signalling
• Latest capital cost estimate is between £7m and £9m
• ln principal commitment was given by NWDA to consider capital funding. Decision to abolish RDAs will mean this is no longer available hwoever the new Local Economic Partnership replacing the RDA will adopt the Curve as a top priority (because it is an agreed East Lancashire Priority - MAA)
• Alternative funding options e.g. Regional Growth Fund currently being explored

Revenue Funding
• Revenue funding requirement not yet known. Gap funding is likely to be required

GRIP = Guide to Railway Investment Projects.
A process used by Network Rail to access and evaluate projects